Today's books are those that pack a surprise in story or structure, which as a reader and writer I find absolutely delightful. These are books that show children how to think outside the box and enjoy the unexpected and then reflect on the path that brought them there.
How to Catch a Clover Thief is written and illustrated by Elise Parsley, and the first lines of this story show it isn't going to follow the typical "How to" structure. Instead, readers are presented with a scene, a character, and what he wants, while the antagonist watches from the background with a book in hand.
The stems were tall. The leaves were large. Roy couldn't believe his luck--all this clover patch needed were those sweet white blossoms and then he could gobble up his favorite snack. They were nearly ready. He just needed to be patient.
But as it turns out, being patient is not all Roy needs to do. Roy needs to find a way to outwit the clever rodent named Jarvis. This science teacher's heart soared with the final illustrations and path the story took, because it landed ingeniously and humorously in the lap of STEAM. And interestingly, young readers might go back and see where application of the scientific method lurked in the details all along. This book definitely ought to find its way into every child's hands.
Turtle in a Tree written and illustrated by Neesha Hudson offers a fun read aloud with two characters who each see something different in a tree and each insist that they are right and the other is wrong. Of course, the twist at the end is clever, satisfying, and funny. Although this story doesn't wave the STEM flag from its cover, it can provide an interesting and unique tool for discussing the process of scientific inquiry and debate in the classroom. But aside from my own educational interests as an educator, Turtle in a Tree is simply plain fun and won't disappoint.